PARENTS were angered at West Dunbartonshire Council for asking for help to do “their job” of clearing snow from school playgrounds.

Ahead of Monday’s return to school, head teachers throughout West Dunbartonshire urged mums and dads to get involved with the event.

It outraged dozens of parents who hit out at the plea and demanded the council ensure all schools had been cleared of snow, rather than rely on parents.

One wrote: “Speechless at this. It’s their job.”

Another fumed: “Myself and my neighbours have been trying to do our best but there is only so much you can do with a snow shovel, [we] need gritters and a snow plough up.”

“That’s the way I feel, battled through all sorts last year and the start of this year when the council should be doing a lot more to keep us safe – getting out of hand now.”

Labour Councillor John Mooney offered his sympathy with residents who were angered by the requests.

He said: “Community spirit is great in principle but it does seem a bit to me like David Cameron’s big society.

“Asking hard working parents to go out and clear the schools while they’re working to pay for their childcare? No, I don’t think so. I think it’s a bit of a cheek. More should have been done and more could have been done.

“I do have serious concerns that perhaps we are asking people that don’t have the ability to do these things, the elderly and disabled. 

“I don’t think we should give the impression that these people should be helping. Don’t ask people to do things that they can’t do. 

“We need to put the resources in as a public authority. That is our responsibility. That’s what we were elected to do. I think the government, including local authority, needs to take its responsibility seriously.”

Despite fury from some parents, schools were inundated with requests from parents who were eager to help return their children to school after the impromptu three-day holiday caused by the “Beast from the East” last week.

Elsewhere, communities have done themselves proud, with neighbours banding together to clear local streets from heaps of snow. 

The area’s councillors have jumped to the defence of the work done by their gritting team.

Tory councillor Sally Page said: “WDC Roads and Greenspace departments have worked extremely hard to try to keep on top of snow clearing, much attention being paid to those who receive social care.

“I think there is no harm in asking for help and most people enjoy being able to be part of a team doing something useful for others.

“The village of Gartocharn through the Facebook page rallied enough help to clear the playground and pavements for a safe return for the school children.”

A West Dunbartonshire Council spokeswoman said the request for additional support was made by head teachers and had been met with a generally good response from the public.

She said: “There has been fantastic community spirit shown by residents in West Dunbartonshire in their efforts to help one another during this unprecedented weather.

“Our teams have been doing all they can to keep residents safe and keep the roads network moving as much as possible. 

“Council teams have attended every school to clear snow from paths and entrances and this has been enhanced by the efforts of parent volunteers.

“We want to thank all of our residents who have gone the extra mile to help in our communities, we really appreciate their efforts.”

SNP spokesman for roads, Councillor Iain McLaren, thanked parents and volunteers who helped and added: "I would like to offer my thanks to everyone who helped during last’s week’s extreme weather.

"From the council workers who strived to keep roads open, to parents and other volunteers who helped clear school grounds yesterday so they could open today. Weather like this is always going to be challenging."